Copper production in Zambia on track for 1.5m tonnes

Zambia's copper output is expected to hit 1.5 million tonnes by 2017 as foreign companies pour $3 billion into sector.

According to The Africa Report new projects due to come on stream include the expansion of the Lumwana mine, Canadian firm First Quantum's $2 billion greenfield Trident project, China Nonferrous Mining Corporation's $832m project and the Lubambe mine – a joint venture by Brazil's Vale, South Africa's African Rainbow Minerals and state-owned ZCCM Investments.

The African nation's central bank predicts production in 2012 slowed to some 820,000 tonnes on the back of softer global prices, a slowdown in number one consumer China and labour turmoil in the Zambia.

Chile is the world's number one copper producer by a huge margin producing more than 5 million tonnes per annum, followed by the US and Peru with both countries producing in the region of 1.3 million tonnes.